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To Marantz PM7200 Class A or not Class A, that is the question?

 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3002
Registered: Oct-04
Good Evening folks, There's a very nice Marantz PM7200 for sale on eBay I'm staring at.

The Marantz PM7200 seems to be a universally well reviewed amp, but there have been some disagreements on whether or not there is any discernable difference when operating in pure Class-A mode vs. Class AB.

Does anyone here have any experience with the PM7200? Would you consider it a lateral move from my SR5400?

http://us.marantz.com/Products/584.asp

http://sites.thestar.com.my/audio/story.asp?file=/2005/3/17/audiofile/17marantz

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/5444.html
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14099
Registered: May-04
.

I've never thought much of the penchant for switches that announce anything about an amplifier. Class A can be distinctly different than any form of class AB but not when it is applied to a sales sheet. Why not save your cash and buy something that doesn't require asking if its worth the money?


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3003
Registered: Oct-04
I was thinking this might be a worthwhile distract & more or less a lateral move monetarily, if I could unload my SR5400 for a few bucks, along with a few other goodies, until I'm ready to pony-up some bucks for the next move, whatever that might be?

I'm not sure I get your "sales sheet" point?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 10904
Registered: Feb-05
Considering a move up with the amp Chris? You like the Marantz sound is that pretty much what you are looking for? What would you say that you want to add to the sound that you presently have?
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3004
Registered: Oct-04
I'm not sure this a move up? The SR5400 is very satisfying, even with all those extra channels I never use, but obviously it's not the very best amp I've every heard, or the even the best receiver, so I'm curious about the PM7200.

If you're telling me the benefits of Class A might not be blatantly obvious, then I'll pass on this deal, and save my time & shekels for better & better things.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 357
Registered: Dec-06
Would the fact that it's an integrated vs. a receiver not make it pretty much a given it's better than the SR5400? I must confess I don't know what Class A and AB is.

But it's probably better to wait. Take a definite step up. I'd aim just north of NAD and Cambridge, well that's what I've done at least. I considered spending money on lateral moves too but then realized, what's the point moving from one entry level speaker to another? But I think, once you hit that level (just above NAD), you're getting something that is probably built like a tank and is really nice sounding, and something that you can enjoy without getting the urge to upgrade over and over again. Something that may not be truly high end like Krell or what have you, but something that feels high end nevertheless. I've stumbled a little, bought some gear that I sold soon after when I realized it wasn't what I wanted, but now I feel I've got the CDP, got the tuner, got the amp, just gotta get the speakers. It'll be worth it in the end.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3006
Registered: Oct-04
"Would the fact that it's an integrated vs. a receiver not make it pretty much a given it's better than the SR5400?"

While that might seem obvious, in practice the answer is not as clear.

Class A amps are the simplest, least efficient (they get HOT), and can be the most distortion free design.

http://stason.org/TULARC/entertainment/audio/general/11-18-What-is-Amplifier-Cla ss-A-What-is-Class-B-What-is-Cl.html
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 10910
Registered: Feb-05
Seems like I remember a friend of mine who owns an audio store in Corvallis, being pretty impressed with that amp for the dough.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14103
Registered: May-04
.

I would take the words of the review you linked to to explain my "sales sheet" comment.

"This particular Marantz amplifier somehow reminded me of a Luxman model that I had once auditioned. That the Marantz PM7200 had a Class A switch reminded me even more of the Luxman amplifier."


I'm reminded of the Lux IA's that used a vacuum tube in a front window to say "vacuum tube amplifier" but the tube wasn't connected in the signal path. It was all a sales sheet design.

The reviewer somewhat disparages minimalist designs but I'd say I would almost always prefer the minimalist to the "look at me, lookee what I done!" designs. The switch for class A operation is to me a gimmick. I'm not against switches, just switches that are superfluous to the operation of the equipment.

The 7200 has received good reviews and I suspect it is better overall than the 5400 but that doesn't make it the amplifier to buy just because you found a bargain. I'm of the opinion you buy what will serve your needs and, if you need a switch to throw to convince you you're getting better sound, then you might have chosen for the wrong reasons.

Nothing about class A is a magic bullet. The quality of the design and the implementation of the design is what will matter. Nothing about separates inherently makes them better sounding than an integrated amplifier. It's still the individual product you have to consider. There are exceptionally good sounding class A products and some that are just using the verbage for sales to set themself apart from the crowd.



Class A eliminates switching distortion by not turning off the output device during half of its duty cycle. Harmonic distortion is not affected by class A operation nor is IM, just switching or "notch" distortion.

http://sound.westhost.com/class-a.htm

Class A operation does run hotter than other modes since the outputs are on constantly. This requires a good amount of current to flow and therefore a good amount of power supply and heat sinking. Good class A is not IMO managed on a budget.

Keep in mind virtually any pre amp from the last 50 years is running class A and most power amplifiers stay in class A for the first few watts of operation. Biasing a class AB amp hotter will result in class AB1 operation which comes close to providing the benefits of both classes. Single ended amps by their nature operate in class A. For decades designers have come up with "enriched" class AB operation which tries to mimick the benefits of class A. All that is to say, don't get hung up on the terminology or the advertising. Products sound good because they have been competently designed and built.

Unless you want to buy the amp and sell it if you don't like it, I would stick with my first advice. Buy something you don't have to ask about or that you won't be back asking about something else in a few months/years. If you've convinced yourself the 7200 is that product, then buy it. If you haven't, don't spend money just because you can get a bargain. Bargains come and go, buy something that will last and don't get distracted by bright, shiny objects.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3009
Registered: Oct-04
But their so shiny...and bright?

"Good class A is not IMO managed on a budget."

This is one of my main concerns, heat is the enemy of electronics, and how a company goes about dealing with this Class A reality on a budget is a question, but Marantz is pretty good at what they do. So that being said, I too suspect the PM7200 might be a better fit than my SR5400, but not a guaranteed slam-dunk. If I can pull this off without reaching into my pocket, it might be worth it.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 10912
Registered: Feb-05
Sugden amps are Class A and are the hottest amps I've used and they have excellent reliability. The Sonneteers are reliable and run hot as well. A properly designed Class A amp should provide years of service. You just have to remember to give it plenty of room to breath.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3525
Registered: May-05
The 7200 wasn't a bad unit at all. Not that I've auditioned the newer ones extensively, but I'd probably take a 7200 over the current ones. It was the most musical I've heard Marantz sound in a long time. It was just as good as the comparable NAD or Rotel at the time. Not better or worse, just different.

The amp is Class A for the first 5 watts or so, I believe. After that it goes into AB, regardless of where the switch is. This is probably why some said they heard a difference and some said they didn't. It could have been past the 5 watt limit.

I think the 7200 is better than any HT receiver they've made that I've heard. I think its a step up. Those are my ears. I'm not saying it won't be a long term amp for you, but I doubt it would be.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 13754
Registered: Dec-04
5 watts is average listening volume.
Do you want to live on the audionervosa edge, man ?!?

Look, it's like this.

Class 'A' is hot all the time on the outputs. So run it really low to see if it is truly running hot all the time, the sinks should be warm or more.


If the thing does not heat up like this, mut gets hot under normal load, then it is a Class sham.

Yes? No?
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3011
Registered: Oct-04
Thanks Stu.

The SR7200 runs in Class A till 25W.

I don't know if this particular deal is going to happen, but I am going to continue to keep an eye out for one of these.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 10924
Registered: Feb-05
Hope it works out the way you want it to Chris.
 

Gold Member
Username: Gavdawg

Albany, New York

Post Number: 1313
Registered: Nov-06
I have the previous unit, and love the sound it puts out. Going by what I am familiar with...I would say that it would be an obvious upgrade to your current receiver. I have the 7001, which was either a love or hate model.

The sound is rich and full...very fluid and effortless with the right speakers. It is detailed and engaging, but does not sound forced and analytical to my ears. FWIW I also use a Marantz CDP (the SA-8001).

your mileage may vary :-P
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3043
Registered: Oct-04
Thanks Gavin, I think the unit is still available, but the asking price was kind of high for a floor model. I might make him an offer if unit is still available in a week of two, or I might just keep an eye out for a better deal.
 

Gold Member
Username: My_rantz

Gold CoastAustralia

Post Number: 2605
Registered: Nov-05
CM, my brother has an older class A/AB Marantz amp. I forget the model, but it would be something from the late nineties I would think. It runs in class A to about 20 watts when selected. Otherwise the amp is about 150 watts @ 8ohms. He recently has been thinking it has been time for an upgrade and has listened to a few amps including a MF A5 which I recommended. He decided that nothing he has heard has bettered his trusty Marantz and is keeping it for now. He runs Spendour S8e's, has an Arcam C192 cdp and a Linn t/t. He loves the sound of his Marantz and often listens in class A.
 

New member
Username: Nout

Netherlands

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-09
Good amp.
Easy on the ears and inviting at the same time
Still have mine since 2004, never been tempted to upgrade.

(I am not sure though if the US version is identical to the UK and Europe one.
I remember a thread on this message board where someone mentioned a difference in the power suply)
 

Gold Member
Username: Exerciseguy

Fort Hamilton, NY United States

Post Number: 3074
Registered: Oct-04
Thanks Nout, welcome to the board.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 11374
Registered: Feb-05
Or is it welcome back to the board?

Probably not but we did have a Nout at one time.
 

New member
Username: Nout

Netherlands

Post Number: 5
Registered: Dec-09
It's the same person :-)
I visit this board every now and then, but don't have much to talk about, I didn't upgrade my system since then and don't care much about upgrading anyway...well that is...to be more specifically, the last year I mostly enjoyd music through headphones.

Recently I have bought a pair of wooden Denons and a dedicated (tubed) headphones amp and the sound is simply amazing.
Headphones to me appear to be an economic way of getting an 'audiophile' experience (ehm...whatever that means) for very little money.

Oh and I had to make a new account, I couldn't log in, so that's why I appear to be new to this board :-)
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 11378
Registered: Feb-05
Good to see you on board again, Nout.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14019
Registered: Dec-04
Welcome back Nout.
 

New member
Username: Nout

Netherlands

Post Number: 6
Registered: Dec-09
Thanks guys :-)

Oh and congrats Nuck with your 'new' home (you moved in january?), I saw some nice pictures!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 14021
Registered: Dec-04
thank you, sir.
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